Grantham Journal letter: Policing is not what it used to be!

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I would like to reply to the letter (Name Witheld) in last week’s Journal.

It is clear by its content that the reader agrees with what I had written, by just confirming my point that PCSOs are now doing the work once done by police officers. They have replaced the “Bobby on the Beat” and at a cheaper price, with the result that as the Journal highlighted with its photographs recently, the school parking project which was PCSO-led has clearly failed.

The public needs to be under no illusion the PCSO was brought in by the Labour Government as a cheap alternative to regular officers, and from a distance they look like a regular Police Constable, so the plan appears to have worked, that is why the Police Commissioner wanted to add a thousand voluntary PCSOs to his band of merry men, which I thought was strange, when surely it would have been better to increase his Special Constabulary.

I would like to now tell Name Witheld what the “old school”, which he/she refers to, which I served for 30 years was like.

It might not be perfect, but I and others believe it is far better than the fudge that the public is palmed off with today.

Firstly you had town shifts of around eight police officers, not the two or three that parade these days. Professional police officers manned control rooms, so that when you contacted the police you spoke to someone who thought like a copper, and dealt with matters accordingly. Now the public has G4S taking the calls. All I have to say to that is look at the debacle of the 2012 Olympics, enough said.

Police station enquiry offices were open 24 hours a day, where the public could go and get help, not left outside in the rain using a call phone by the front door. Villages had their own policemen living in the community.

The basic training was done at a training school not in-house which is yet another cost cutting measure.

When the public reported a crime an officer would attend, record details, do some house-to-house inquiries and show a bit of interest. Now the public give the details over the telephone, are given a crime number, case closed.

To conclude (I could go on) at least at my “old school” police officers looked thepart, not like something from the LAPD.

That, Name Witheld, is a little bit of insight into my “old school” and I know the school I would like today’s coppers to attend.

Stan Snave

Belton Lane, Grantham